Adipose tissue secretes many adipokines that regulate importantphysiological functions. Growing studies have highlightedthat these bioactive molecules may contribute to the developmentof metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Adipokines exert systemicmetabolic effects and independent activity on numerouscells of the cardiovascular system, including cardiomyocytes andvascular cell walls. Adiponectin shows anti-inflammatory andanti-atherosclerotic activity on blood vessels. Conversely, resistinis endowed with pro-inflammatory effects and stimulates the proliferationof smooth muscle cells, thus promoting the developmentof atherosclerotic plaque. Leptin plays an important role in cardiacremodeling and blood pressure regulation through the activationof the sympathetic system. Obesity is a pathological conditionassociated with hypertrophy of white adipose tissue, which stimulatesthe production of pro-inflammatory adipokines while, itreduces the production of anti-inflammatory adipokines. The delicatebalance among the production of pro-and anti-inflammatorymolecules generated by adipose tissue affects, not only the developmentof metabolic complications associated with obesity, butalso the onset and progression of atherosclerosis. Therefore,adipokines may be regarded as potential agents of clinical interestin the treatment of a wide range of metabolic disorders and aspotential biomarkers useful for early detection of metabolic, cardiovascularand inflammatory diseases.
- General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
- Plant Science
- Biochemistry, medical